What Big Goal Will Inspire You and Your Team?

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December 11, 2012

All this talk about visions got me thinking about a poster I used to have on my wall bearing the following inscription:

“Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it! Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”

The famous quote inspired my mountaineering endeavors for many years.  But the real power lies in the rest of the quote, which is seldom recited:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, The chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative there is one element of truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and endless plans. The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never have otherwise occurred. A whole system of events issue from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would come his way.” 
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

So, what does this mean? Well, it’s simple really… Everything starts with a vision.

At its best, a vision is inspired, in the truest sense of the word, and will inspire others to achieve extraordinary results.

But a vision isn’t just a few words or sentences on a paper. An effective business vision:

  • Serves as a compass to point you in the right direction
  • Builds momentum and stimulates forward progress
  • Provides criteria for effective decision-making and time usage
Your vision provides the inspiration and direction your organization needs. Without it, without a clear destination, you AND your employees will wonder aimlessly without a clear end in mind.

Great Vision Examples

3M – Technology advancing every company. Products enhancing every home. Innovation improving every life.

Ken Blanchard Companies – To be the number one advocate in the world for human worth in organizations.

Bill Gates wrote his first computer program at 13 and became a billionaire at 31. The original vision of Microsoft was “a computer on every desk and in every home.”

The vision of General Electric was “to become #1 or #2 in every market we serve and revolutionize this company to have the speed and agility of a small enterprise.”

President John F. Kennedy announced, on May 25, 1961, “that this Nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.”  On July 20, 1969, Commander Neil Armstrong became the first man on the moon.

Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor Company in 1903, after two failed startups. He was almost 40 years old. A few years later, Ford declared his aspiration to “build a motor car for the great multitude…It will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one – and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God’s great open spaces… everyone will be able to afford one, and everyone will have one.”

All companies have goals. But there is a difference between merely having a goal and becoming committed to a huge, daunting challenge –  like a big mountain to climb.”
-Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, Built to Last

Don’t Just Sit There, Envision Your Higher Achievements

As you envision your highest personal and professional aspirations, consider the highflying story from the life of Larry Waters. In the 1980′s, Larry was a 33-year-old truck driver sitting in his backyard lawn chair dreaming of his “higher” achievements. The next thing you know, Larry is flying at 11,000 feet over Los Angeles International Airport in his aluminum lawn chair – attached to 45 helium- filled weather balloons. Yes, Larry had a plan – complete with a BB gun to pop the balloons for landing, a parachute (just in case), some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a six-pack of beer, and a CB radio.

When asked by the media why he did it. He said, “You can’t just sit there.” Was he scared? “Wonderfully so.” Would he do it again? “Nope.”

Unfortunately, much of the human race is in no race at all. Too many people just sit in their chairs with a diminished sense of wonder, adventure, and contribution.

So, I challenge you to get out of your chair. To be open to wonder and adventure. To be honest with yourself and truly understand what you want to do and where you want to go. Once you do that, putting your vision on paper will become easier.

Does your organization have a well defined vision? Do you have a personal vision? Let’s continue the conversation. Leave a comment below, post on my Facebook page, or Tweet me @JoeCalhoon.

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